IPL scam: Sreesanth’s phones, laptops seized; arrested quizzed jointly

Mumbai/New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) The probe into the IPL spot-match fixing scam was intensified Saturday with Mumbai police seizing the mobiles, iPhones and laptops of cricketer S.Sreesanth and his relative, bookie Jiju Janardhan while the three arrested players were jointly quizzed.

Police are also scanning the diaries of Sreesanth which contain significant information pertaining to the scam, Mumbai Police’s Joint Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy, who is spearheading the investigations, told media persons in Mumbai.

One more bookie, Pravin Bera, was arrested from Mumbai Saturday, taking the total number of bookies arrested from the city and other parts of the country to 12, besides the three cricketers – Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankit Chavan, all playing for the Rajasthan Royals.

Roy said that Mumbai police are contemplating seeking custodial investigation of the three cricketers who were nabbed from a Mumbai five-star hotel three days ago, blowing the lid off the sensational scam.

Police also searched the room in a five-star hotel in south Mumbai where Sreesanth and Janardhan were living, he said.

“We are also scanning the CCTV footage of the hotel to find out who they met during their stay there, their movements, and visitors who called on them,” Roy said, adding that police will reconstruct the sequence of events in the hotel May 14/15 till Sreesanth’s arrest.

Besides Bera, bookies Ramesh Vyas, Pankaj Shah alias Lotus, Ashok Vyas, Pandurang Kadam, Niraj Shah have been arrested so far from Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

Police had raided bookie Vyas’s office in Kalbadevi and he was nabbed May 14, the same night when the cricketer trio was picked up by Delhi Police.

From Vyas, the investigators came across a rich haul of 92 mobile phone, 18 SIM cards, account books, laptops, a TV set, satellite dish etc,

“Thirty of the mobile phones were used to make conference calls to bookies in India, Pakistan and Dubai by Vyas, who was in touch with all the bookies and had also given some money to them,” Roy revealed.

“We have several more bookies wanted in connection with this scam,” he said, hinting at more arrests.

In New Delhi, the three arrested players were again questioned but now in each others’ presence, an official said.

The suspects confessed their crime but blamed each other for dragging them into spot fixing, police sources said.

The three were brought before each other in a room in the office of the Special Cell of police in Lodhi Colony in south Delhi and questioned for two hours, the sources said.

This was the first occasion when the three players were confronted with each other. They were questioned separately Friday, police said.

The accused’s interrogation was done under the supervision of Special Commissioner of Police S.N. Srivastava, police sources said.

The three were confronted with the nabbed bookies, audio recordings and other material evidence gathered by the investigators into the scam.

During separate interrogation Saturday, 11 bookies, all of whom are in police custody, were also brought before each other, sources said.

Delhi Police also conducted raids in several cities including Mumbai and Ahmedabad to track the money trail in connection with the alleged spot fixing racket, sources said.

In Chennai, Tamil Nadu Police said they expect to achieve a breakthrough soon in the cricket betting case in which six bookies were arrested Friday.

“We expect to achieve break through in the case soon. We also raided three premises here Saturday,” a senior official of at Crime Branch-Crime Investigation Department (CBCID), who did not want to be named, told IANS.

Mumbai police are meanwhile keen to invoke the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) on all the accused, currently facing charges for cheating and criminal conspiracy, after complying with the necessary pre-conditions for this law, Roy said.

In a post-midnight swoop Wednesday, a team of Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested the three cricketers for their alleged involvement in spot fixing in the ongoing IPL-6 season for payments of upto Rs.6 million for allowing a pre-determined number of runs in an over.

Investigators believe that fixing of different types may be prevalent in other matches in the current IPL and also in the earlier IPLs.

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